Then Chief Creative Officer Michael Hulme met with a business associate (who is still a member of the company) with whom the CCO was previously acquainted. Again…this was not for approval, but for a business “talk”…and even if Michael Hulme was not an active employee at that time, he certainly knew the people who were…and who had the connections…for the CCO to be in contact with them…. and who can blame them for seeking connections? Again, they were just naive.
Now the company’s future was seriously threatened by the fact that Hulme would not show up for the planned grand opening date with his “prominent” associates. And, in addition to the fact that those associates would need the company to be financially stable to be able to go ahead, no other company would want them as a business partner. And, after this meeting, Hulme did nothing for over two weeks until being forced to apologize by the company president. He apologized. And then he proceeded to say (at an event of a Fortune 500 company) that the reason why he had a second chance at the job was that the CCO really wanted to work with him. The company did not say what they believed to be the truth, but the fact remains that Michael Hulme was forced to resign and, after trying to re-organize the organization through the following weeks and months, the company itself ended up being bought out by another company. But I guess we have a culture that “looks for trouble”. So, we see an organization that’s going through a real crisis. The culture is looking for a few problems, and they then try to make other people who should know better pay attention to problems that have been caused by a handful of individuals who have really done nothing. But, at the end of the day, they had the biggest problem of all. Their reputation. And that is pretty much what it feels like from those who haven’t been part of the organization long. The whole purpose of a company is to make money. And it is a way to raise money if you want to. And, once the money is there, it has to be done the right way. It is the key to your business, and you do not mess that up. The irony is that the leadership of the company really seemed to think that it was doing nothing wrong. They didn’t call it a culture. They didn’t think it was a problem. They didn’t think it was a problem. They simply said that it couldn’t possibly be a problem… and that they simply wanted to find a way to save the reputation of the company, and avoid that big meeting. They did not think that their inability to keep the employees happy was actually a problem. In fact, when asked (once again) what they did wrong, the leadership said, I can’t really say….we all do our best….it’s hard to say… but we do our best. And, at the end of the day, they tried an even harder thing, and it was simply for show…in an attempt to save their reputation. Now, a company can do a lot of things to salvage a reputation. They can go on a public shaming campaign, or to tell each additional person who is unhappy…that they are not welcome. But, again, is that the kind of organization the company is designed to be? From that perspective, we see a culture that is looking for problems. But, in so doing, they simply take the worst thing in what they have, and make it worse. A bad reputation, not so much the problem.
It really isn’t the company’s fault. They tried everything they could think of…. to make things right (but by their own admission, that is just a small part of what they did) They tried to make it up to the employees. They tried to assure them that they would return their contracts. They even tried to convince them that their employees love the company, and that it was not their fault that they are unhappy. To some extent, those things were also true. However, they said these things so as to make it seem that somehow the work of the people who were supposed to be doing their jobs was somehow their fault. They used the same reasoning to give contracts to all the same people over and over again.
That is the point that I have made from the beginning of this article. The company that I was in when I left is now gone. I will not be part of it. I don’t think many, if any, of us will feel the same way. So, how can we really do it with this culture?